To all discerning bon vi-vants from the world of illustrated fiction,
It’s time for a Dude-to-fan update. Without delay, here’s the latest in the life of Steve Rude the Dude…
- Any work from the major companies is slow coming.
- The Nexus work I want to be working on doesn’t have an acceptable script
- Doing personal commissions seems to be where it’s at for me right now.
- Doing experimental work on the proposed Nexus animated series. Fun and challenging.
- I’ve also been working on a You-Tube presence by way of tutorials on how I work. ”About time”, says friends, family, and various pets.
Above: Scene from my current YouTube tutorial
Some thoughts on why I’m not currently working for the majors:
Since my rejection back in July from Marvel, reasons that remain vague and somewhat suspect in accordance with a companies claim to hire the most trusted people for the job, I haven’t worked for any major company since. With so many changes in the very company that most influenced me in the 60’s, this decision is clearly for the better. When the people in charge don’t recognize anything beyond the name Todd McFarlane, it’s time to move on.
As I think back and review the wonderful decade of artistic and commercial growth comics witnessed in the 1980’s (when I began in comics), I see the many things about the business as it began to change, sometimes for better, mostly for worse.
To creators such as myself, present day comics have changed so much they’re virtually unrecognizable from what we knew and loved. In my case, having the rep as a “troublemaker” who refuses to endorse rigid company mandates hasn’t helped. I may not be on a mug sheet yet, but I’m probably close. Such infringements that I’m guilty of include tiny “copyrightable” in-jokes, or drawing certain “living or dead person” likenesses to help reinforce the point of the story. To the people who now run DC comics, this apparently means anything, including some obscure trademark on the bottom of one’s shoes.
When I was specifically asked to take over Superman in Action comics by a top DC editor, I was quickly informed never to include anything that violates DC’s regulations about copyrighted material--things like my pinky-sized image of Elvis in my recent Man of Steel pages--ever again (see below). The way this editor presented this berating seemed on par with, I swear, blowing up the Empire State building.
If I was drawing a Civil War story, and wanted to include Abraham Lincoln, would I have to remove his black waste coat, top hat, and trademark facial hair to avoid infringing on his likeness? Since when did the mega world of corporate-backed comic publishing descend into becoming victims of harmless trivialities?
Another change in comics from the last 40 years are due to the two major companies, DC and Marvel, in perpetual “reinvention” of classic characters. Why? Rather than deal with the characters as they were meant to be, dutiful writers are required to slash important historical roots and resort to the superficial. In these times, that would most likely mean giving our noble white male heroes a gender-change and cursing like a rapper.
So what’s a Dude to do?
Rather than engaging in the endlessly wasteful attempts to convince these legally-top heavy outfits to return common sense to their policies, I’m now having to choose alternative ways to stay fulfilled and moving forward.
Expect hardships in life
Within one’s lifetime are endless trials and challenges, and not just for one artist trying to do good work without bereft editors and misguided lawyers needlessly scrutinizing their every pencil mark. Remember that many people work for these companies with perfect contentedness. They’re fine with doing what’s expected of them whether they believe in such things or not, and cash their checks. When the very industry that taught me right from wrong begins to enforce idiotic, short-sighted nonsense as I’ve cited, might it be time to stop pacifying and raise the flag a little higher?
Life’s Journey and the Big Picture
Life is tough, but often needlessly so. Me, you, Aunt Harriet’s blessedly innocent Schnauzer—right or wrong, decent or indecent—it’s a shame that we might be subject to the enforcement of others who have somehow lost all perspective in life. So we roll with it--or roll over it--but it’s probably better to keep moving forward, in whatever way most suits our life’s direction and purpose.Mine is still, and always will be, drawing comics.
Until our next salutation of random discourse, I remain respectfully yours,
Steve Rude the intractable Dude